This is the sermon for Sunday, August 23rd, 2009.

ARE YOU FULLY CONVINCED?

2 Timothy 1:3-14.

2 Timothy 1:3-14 TNIV – 3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.  6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. 13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

INTRODUCTION

This is the second letter that Paul has written to his son in the faith – Timothy.  It isn’t very long from this moment that Paul is going to die.  Instead of complaining about the unpleasant conditions that I’m sure Paul had to endure because of the prison cell he lived in; he is concerned for Timothy.  Timothy has been a faithful follower of Christ and a faithful disciple to Paul, but soon, Paul will no longer be there for him to rely on; he will no longer be there to offer prayers, and provide wisdom in the much needed times of Timothy’s life.  So Paul writes this letter to encourage Timothy to continue to press on in the faith, to be faithful to the calling of God upon his life, and to guard and protect the deposit that God has given him through the help of the Holy Spirit.  Paul, I believe is trying to impress upon Timothy the need for him to be fully convinced, not only of his salvation, but also of his calling.

Now let me ask a question of us all here this morning:  Are truly convinced of your calling in Christ Jesus?  Or are you hoping you are saved, or even wishing you were saved?  How many this morning long to do something for Jesus Christ, but just are not sure where to start?  Or maybe you are fearful of knowing exactly where to begin?

Well, this sermon is for all of you this morning.  My goal for this sermon is that when you leave here, you will be both convinced of your position in Christ and also convinced that God has a purpose and a plan for you now – that you are important to the kingdom of God.

Let’s begin looking into our text and see what we can learn from the Apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy.

Thanksgiving for sincere faith.

2 Timothy 1:3-5 TNIV – 3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

The first thing we see here is that Paul is thankful for the sincere faith of Timothy.  Paul has been praying for Timothy, and Timothy has been longing to see Paul so much, that he has been weeping.  Paul longs to see him, so that Paul may be filled with joy.  You see, Paul knew that Timothy was not a “fly by night” Christian.  In fact, Timothy had been raised in the household of faith – both his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice were believers.  Paul, in the midst of suffering, is concerned for the suffering of Timothy, possibly because Paul knew his time on this earth was rapidly approaching the end, so he wanted to be an encouragement to Timothy why he still could.

Now there are many things that we can learn from these verses, but let’s look at the following for application purposes:

  • Always be thankful for your salvation, and other believers. God has not called us to be lone ranger Christians, but to love one another and support and encourage one another.
  • Be sure and pray for others going through difficult times. Paul was a great man of prayer.  He prayed not only for Timothy, but for all the churches that he wrote too in his epistles. 
  • In your prayers, recall the sorrow of those struggling, either with everyday issues, or struggling in being convinced of their salvation, or struggling in God’s purpose for them.

Fanning into flame God’s gift.

2 Timothy 1:6-8 TNIV – 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God…

Paul tells Timothy “to fan into flame the gift of God.” What does Paul mean by this statement?  Well, we need to go look into the Greek at the tense, voice, and mood of this statement to seek to understand.  This is called “PRESENT ACTIVE INDICATIVE.”  This implies an ongoing need to fan or rekindle or stir up the flame.  This is not meant to imply that Timothy had let the flame of God’s call and giftedness burn low, but that in difficult situations like his current assignment, he should take strength from God’s previous call and equipping. I believe it is a call to again be filled with the Holy Spirit fresh and anew.

You see, being filled with the Spirit is just not a one time thing at salvation, nor it is a one time thing that is often called “Spirit-baptism.”  But it is also something that must flow through us and be more than just a one time experience.

Ephesians 5:18 TNIV – Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

The “be filled” in Greek literally means, “be, being filled;” which describes more than just a one time event, but something that should be a regular occurrence in the life of the believer.

Now Paul mentions the gift of God to Timothy here.  Is this his salvation?  More than likely it is his specific calling to ministry.  Notice he received it “through the laying on of my (Paul’s) hands.”

This calling that Timothy received, and this filling he received at his calling was not one that made him timid, but a special gifting that did three things for him.

  • Power.
  • Love.
  • Self-discipline.

So because of this, Timothy should not be ashamed to suffer for his calling, God will not only equip him to perform God’s purpose for him; He will also empower him to suffer for Christ.

Is there anything we can learn here that can help us be convinced of our calling?

  • God also has a calling and purpose for those He saves.
  • He fills with His Spirit those He calls for a specific purpose.
  • We must continue to fan into flame, which means to continue to walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, the calling and gift of God He has purposed for us.
  • He equips us with His power, love, and self-discipline for the calling.
  • In light of this, don’t be afraid to suffer for your calling; He will empower you to endure during suffering.

We are called and empowered for ministry because we are saved by God’s grace through Christ.

2 Timothy 1:9-11 TNIV – 9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.

God saved us not because of what we bring to the table, but because “of his own purpose and grace.”

Now notice when this grace first appeared to us:  “This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

God’s grace was extended to us, not when we turned to Him, but before the beginning of time in Christ Jesus.  It is now revealed to us through Christ coming and dying on the cross and He has brought life and immortality to us through the gospel.

Be encouraged this morning:  You may feel like you don’t have anything special to offer God.  Well, whether that is true or not, it isn’t about what we have to offer Him – it is about what He has to offer us!  So if He loved you enough to save you – He loves you enough to call you, gift you, and equip and empower you for service!

Knowing this truth will persuade you to endure during difficult times when it comes to your calling.

2 Timothy 1:12-14 TNIV – 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. 13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

We persevere and guard our salvation and calling not in our own strength, but in the strength we receive from the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

CONCLUSION

If you are here today, be convinced that you are a child of God.  If you are not convinced, cry out to the Lord and ask Him to save you, and continue to seek Him for salvation until you are convinced.

Be convinced this morning that God has a purpose and calling for you now.  Those He calls He empowers for service through the Holy Spirit.  Continue to fan into flame that gift and don’t let it just smolder, but be ablaze through the Holy Spirit living inside of you.

And guard and protect your life through the Holy Spirit, don’t let the enemy try to rob you of being all God has planned for you.

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